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May the Fourth be with you

It’s Star Wars day! or something. Let’s take a look at a few good games that were inspired by the films. Just as a forewarning, I’m only including the Star Wars games I have personally experienced in the past and so my article may be missing a few good games I haven’t tried yet. Please feel free to give me a heads-up on some games I should try in the comments section down below.

I’ve also played Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, and own both Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, but I haven’t finished them yet which is why they are omitted from this article, for now.


Star Wars: The Arcade Game (Arcade Machines, also on Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Commodore 64, Colecovision, ZX Spectrum, and Sega 32 X) (My Rating: 7/10)

I really want to keep the language PG on this website, so I won’t express my honest opinion about how good this game would have felt if I had played it on 20-year old arcade machines. However, it feels like it’s the technological predecessor to older shoot-em-up games experimenting with 3D graphics like Starwing (StarFox in the US) that make use of unique technologies like the FX chip on some SNES game cartridges. Although my main criticism (keeping with contemporary criticism of today’s videogames) is that the game becomes very repetitive in the respect that it possesses few levels with little variation for the player to experience, it’s still a great game to play and would quickly empty you of pocket change if you even dared to put a single coin in. The original arcade version is bundled as a bonus with Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike.


The Empire Strikes Back (My Rating: 9/10)

I know it’s more of the same, but I would have been ecstatic to see a sequel in the arcades. This game brought different levels to the predecessor with events like the Battle of Hoth and the Asteroid field chase. During the Battle of Hoth you have to shoot Probe Droids and fire tow cables at AT-AT walkers. Also bundled with Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike.

The Super Star Wars Series


Super Star Wars (SNES) (My Rating: 8/10)

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This Super Nintendo Entertainment System rendition of the films made for a great 2D platforming experience. You get to play as Luke Skywalker, using a lightsaber and blaster to progress through events in the first film. More of a good platforming game than the film’s story converted to video-game format, with loads of enemies that didn’t even appear in the films and the lack of continuity of stormtroopers as the main villains. Still a good game though.


Super Empire Strikes Back (SNES) (My Rating: 8/10)

This sequel to the original Super Star Wars game, which in turn is the sequel to the first film, didn’t bring anything new to the scene except for more levels. Given this relationship, I guess you could call it a predecessor to DLC (even though it’s still technically a stand-alone game). What more is there to say apart from epic boss battles and a Tauntaun.


Super Return of the Jedi (SNES) (My Rating: 8/10)

This game isn’t much different either, but it does let you choose to play as either Luke Skywalker, Leia Boushh, or Chewbacca. I think you fight Darth Vader at some point.


Star Wars Battlegrounds: (My Rating: 6.5/10)

Despite this thing being a very plain real-time strategy game at heart, rehashed with star wars sprites and contextual dialogue, it’s not a half bad attempt. The game includes several campaigns to play from, as different factions with some of the missions taking place during the events of the respective films the factions appear in. The game also features an online multiplayer service (long outdated now though, but you can still play with friends I think), and a map editor that lets you create your own maps, your own customized campaign experiences, and it has loads of variables you can tinker with, such as the number of resources factions start with, and what relationships initially exist between the factions (you could have an infiltration mission where the “fortress” is a separate faction allied with all other factions for instance).


Rogue Squadron (My Rating: 10/10)

Rogue Squadron is a 3D Shoot-Em-Up developed by Factor 5. The game let you pilot almost any spaceship in the original trilogy including the millennium falcon and a tie fighter, and it had a number of objectives such as destroying buildings, aircraft, cannons, disabling vehicles for capture by the rebels, and defending convoys and key buildings from the empire.


Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader (Nintendo Gamecube) (My Rating: 8/10)

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Rogue Leader is the sequel to Rogue Squadron developed for the later generation Nintendo console the Gamecube. Rogue Leader has a few distinct improvements such as the “Command Cross” where you can command your wingmen to either form up for higher defense and attack power or you can choose to send them off for individual objectives so you can focus on the main one. The developers also seemed to go one further with the game and release BOTH a day and night version of the mission “Imperial Academy Heist”, working off the console’s internal clock as a reference, which is nice, because only one version of the mission is compulsory. You can also play three missions from the game as Darth Vader, working with the empire to destroy the rebels as opposed to what events are canonically set to take place.


Rogue Squadron 3: Rebel Strike (Nintendo Gamecube) (My Rating: 9/10)

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Rebel Strike is the third game in the Rogue Squadron series. Rebel Strike brought with it a huge number of improvements that weren’t in the prequel, including a funny disco intro sequence, a kickass menu screen showing clips from the original trilogy, a more defined menu soundtrack for the game, a versus and co-operative mode (that allowed two players to play missions from Rogue Leader on the stand-alone disk), and many bonus features including “the making of” videos and the ability to play earlier titles that helped inspire the game. The levels in the game feature sequences where the player must leave their spaceship and continue on foot or in a land-vehicle such as a Landspeeder or Tauntaun. Ultimately though, there’s nothing more gratifying than firing a sonic mine from a Jedi Starfighter or throwing a Proton grenade into the guts of an AT-AT.


Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (Nintendo 64, also on Windows) (My Rating: 9/10)

Shadows of the Empire is a spin-off game with the first mission taking place during the Battle of Hoth. Dash Rendar, and his droid partner “Leebo” are tasked with tracking down Han Solo, a former fellow Cadet in the Imperial Academy, having been hired by Lando Calrissian, who had been captured by the Bounty Hunter Boba Fett. Upon successfully finding him, the two converse as old friends, before Dash assists Han Solo and the other rebels in defending against the empire’s ground forces in a snowspeeder. After business is finished at Hoth, the story takes a curve in the narrative away from the films with Dash tracking down bounty hunters like IG-88 and Boba-Fett and killing them to prevent them capturing Han Solo. The game combines both platforming elements and epic spaceship shoot-em-up battles which take place throughout a wide variety of locations such as a junkyard, a palace, and a sewer.


The Lego Star Wars Series:


Lego Star Wars: The Videogame (Playstation 2, also on Windows, Xbox, Gamecube, GBA, and Mac OS X) (My Rating: 9/10)

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Lego Star Wars: The Videogame is a fun parody of the Star Wars film narrative. The first game follows the events of the newer, more recent trilogy, with several key characters from the films making an appearance such as General Grevious, Yoda, and even a completely useless Gonk Droid. The game features a large roster of over 30 different characters all seperated into different classes such as Jedi, Sith, Blaster Characters, Bounty Hunters, Humanoid Protocol Droids, and Astromech Droids. Most of the entites in the game are destructible and the game requires puzzle solving by building useful structures to help you advance through the level. Lego Studs can be used to purchase new characters, hints, and cheats.


Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (Playstation 2, also on Windows, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Gamecube, GBA, Nintendo DS, and Mac OS X) (My Rating: 9/10)

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As denoted by the name Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy this game follows the narrative of the original trilogy as opposed to the newer one. Some of the improvements in this game over the prequel is the inclusion of being able to purchase film cutscenes, being able to create custom characters by swapping out lego parts, and getting something worthwhile after completely finishing the game like the Lego City sandbox map and the Lego Stud fountain.


Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Nintendo DS, also on Windows, Wii, Mac OS X, and PS3)

I haven’t played the rest of the Lego Star Wars games on the Nintendo DS, but this one, in my personal opinion, is a worthwhile purchase for any fan with time to spare on the handheld. The game is a lot like its console equivalents, albeit also employing 2D animated sprites and often substituting 3D-animated cut-scenes we’re familiar with on consoles with 2D animated ones, while still maintaining the context of the narrative and the humor prevalent in the Lego videogame series. The game has it’s cool share of Nintendo DS gimmicks, with events like the “Battle of Hoth” and the Speeder Bike chase presented as traditional birds-eye shoot-em-up levels across both screens of the handheld. There’s also some cool minigames taking advantage of the touch screen like deflecting blaster bolts with an interactive 3D lightsaber model in one minigame and servicing Anakin’s podracer in another.


However, my main criticism with all of these games for no individual product fault but sharing the fault as a whole: Making use of the original film soundtrack. It’s not that I don’t mind listening to it, because it is really good and does fit into the games in general whenever the soundtrack is presented (e.g. “Rescue from Cloud City/Hyperspace (Medley)” in Shadows of the Empire during the train ride in the Ord Mantell Junkyard), but the fact I’ve got to listen to it OVER AND OVER AGAIN WHENEVER I PLAY OR WATCH A STAR WARS RELATED PIECE OF VIDEO-MEDIA gripes me with such mental fatigue I’d rather turn the music off altogether. For me, it’s a clear demonstration why a videogame needs a separate soundtrack for each sequel, because if it doesn’t have one, it just trivializes the series as a whole and leads people to question the new content they’re buying into. That being said, each game is worth looking at and some are even worth buying.


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On a somewhat related note: Steam is selling Star Wars games at a discount until the 6th May 2013 because it’s Star Wars day. Whatever. They are none of the games covered in this article but you can still buy them if you want to I guess:


Please Like, Share, and Comment below on whether you want to see a full review for one of these games or if you want to request a review for a certain game I either own or can easily get access to.

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